PLANS for 1,500 new homes have been given the go-ahead as part of a new development which will straddle the A1.
On Tuesday, East Lothian Council approved two planning applications by Persimmon Homes for more than 116 hectares of land surrounding Queen Margaret University, south of Musselburgh.
The developments will include 1,500 houses across the site.
Detailed planning permission for 473 of the new homes were approved for part of the site north of the A1 at Monktonhall.
It is anticipated the majority of the remaining 1, 027 homes will be built south of the A1.
There are also plans to build a new primary school south of the A1 for the future Craighall community where there will also be three full-size sports pitches and new ‘cycle superhighways’ created using a railway line which runs under the dual carraigeway and a bridge.
The masterplan for the land, which stretches from Stoneybank and Newcraighall in the north down past the village of Old Craighall , shows about 55 hectares of the land south of the A1 set aside for housing and the school, with a further 20 hectares for employment.
North of the A1, more than 40 hectares have been set aside for creating housing and an innovation park supporting research work at the university.
Land has also been set aside for the possible expansion of Musselburgh Railway Station in future.
Plans are also in place for a ‘modified’ junction from the A1 at the university which will have an underpass.
Persimmon Homes East Scotland put in two separate planning applications – one for planning permission in principle for the whole 116-hectare site and a second for detailed planning permission for housing to the east of the university at Monktonhall.
Robin Holder, representing the developers, said at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s planning committee in Haddington on Tuesday that they believed the developments would be “very positive” for Musselburgh.
Among the housing being built across the entire site will be 375 affordable homes.
Concerns were raised about the proximity of housing at Monktonhall to the A1 and the impact of noise on them.
Councillor Jeremy Findlay said it appeared that the affordable housing was being built closest to the road, which is one of the main roads from Edinburgh to England.
He said: “I notice most of the houses next to the A1 are affordable houses, which to my mind suggests the developers do not think they can sell private houses so close to it.”
However, it was pointed out there were other areas of the site also being used for affordable housing.
Councillor John Williamson, ward member, said that the developments would bring “immense change” to Musselburgh and people in the village of Old Craighall in particular.
Discussions about catchment areas for families in the area will also be held in the future, after it was revealed that children living in the village would continue to attend Musselburgh’s Campie Primary School one and a half miles away on the other side of the A1, despite a new school being built on the edge of the village itself.
Councillors approved both planning applications unanimously.
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